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Advise on the structure please

English translation: one suggestion

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14:46 Dec 5, 2004
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature / structural
English term or phrase: Advise on the structure please
I have translated the following sentence from Russian, it’s from a children’s book, a fantasy. Since it’s pretty long, I find it kind of difficult to arrange it in the most appropriate way. Please have a look at the structure and advise if there are any parts that should be changed somehow to be more legible. The talk is about children at school during a recess.

They had very little time and so much to do, so they felt like doing all things at once – getting a drink, having a talk, picking on somebody, examining someone’s new hat, sharing some gossip with each other, swapping their collections of dried leaves, jostling with one another, hopping around the yard to stretch their legs, and so on.

Maybe it was not a very good idea to use the gerund forms here?

Any suggestions will be appreciated.
Andrew Vdovin
Local time: 20:50
English translation:one suggestion
Explanation:
It would sound more natural if you changed "doing all things at once" to "doing everything at once".

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Note added at 7 mins (2004-12-05 14:53:59 GMT)
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I think the gerund structure is OK - if you change it to infinitives, you will have to change \"felt like doing ...\" too - it would have to become something like \"they wanted to do everything at once .....\"

The only phrase I find a bit wordy is \"sharing some gossip with each other\" - I\'d want to find a way of shortening this, maybe to \"exchanging gossip\", \"having a gossip\", or even just plain \"gossiping\".
Selected response from:

Armorel Young
Local time: 14:50
Grading comment
Thanks a lot for your help, Armorel!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +15one suggestion
Armorel Young
5 +2It looks fine to me
Enza Longo
5 +2Since they had...
Jonathan Spector
3 +3make it bit more slangy
Peter Linton
3 +3The beginning and the end...
Olga B
4 +1[advice on the structure]ntext


  

Answers


3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
advise on the structure please
[advice on the structure]


Explanation:
It's acceptable as it is, but I agree that infinitives would be better — i.e. "get a drink, have a talk, pick on somebody ..."

But it's a matter of style; grammatically, it works either way.

ntext
United States
Local time: 08:50
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in category: 56

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Paula Vaz-Carreiro
1 min

neutral  Judith Kerman: I'm not sure infinitives would be better - but it's very much a matter of taste.
7 mins
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7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
advise on the structure please
It looks fine to me


Explanation:
The use of the gerund is natural and reads well in such a situation.
Maybe change 'all things at once' to; everything at once. Although 'all' is still grammatically correct.
Also I might change 'getting a drink' to; getting something to drink.
But overall there's nothing wrong with the way you have it IMO.


Enza Longo
Canada
Local time: 09:50
Native speaker of: English

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Judith Kerman: I like the suggested changes.
4 mins

agree  Vladimir Dubisskiy: esp/with 'getting a drink'
3 hrs
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3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +15
advise on the structure please
one suggestion


Explanation:
It would sound more natural if you changed "doing all things at once" to "doing everything at once".

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 7 mins (2004-12-05 14:53:59 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I think the gerund structure is OK - if you change it to infinitives, you will have to change \"felt like doing ...\" too - it would have to become something like \"they wanted to do everything at once .....\"

The only phrase I find a bit wordy is \"sharing some gossip with each other\" - I\'d want to find a way of shortening this, maybe to \"exchanging gossip\", \"having a gossip\", or even just plain \"gossiping\".

Armorel Young
Local time: 14:50
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 64
Grading comment
Thanks a lot for your help, Armorel!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Paula Vaz-Carreiro
1 min

agree  Alexander Demyanov
4 mins

agree  giogi
6 mins

agree  Neil Phillipson: having a talk too, should be changed to "chatting (with each other)", for example. To have a talk has a different meaning to the one here
6 mins

agree  Judith Kerman: Definitely - "everything" is much more colloquial (American English, anyway).
10 mins

agree  Arcoiris: this is the one I'd choose. Also agree with Neil re. chatting
16 mins

agree  David Knowles: Just what I wanted to change! "sharing some gossip" on its own would be fine.
23 mins

agree  xxxcmwilliams: and also agree with Neil
44 mins

agree  Richard Benham
1 hr

agree  NancyLynn: gossiping
1 hr

agree  Asghar Bhatti
1 hr

agree  Java Cafe
1 hr

disagree  Jonathan Spector: You missed the structural problem in the opening
3 hrs
  -> You're going to have to elaborate - I'm not with you.

agree  Refugio: doing everything at once--getting a drink, chatting, picking on one other, examining someone's new hat, gossiping, swapping collections of dried leaves, jostling, running around the yard to stretch their legs, and so on.
5 hrs

agree  Jörgen Slet
8 hrs

agree  Saleh Chowdhury, Ph.D.
16 hrs

agree  mportal: as Ruth put it
20 hrs
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13 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
Since they had...


Explanation:
very little time and so much to do, they felt like doing many things at once – getting a drink, having a talk, picking on somebody, examining someone’s new hat, sharing some gossip with each other, swapping their collections of dried leaves, jostling one another, running around the yard to stretch their legs, and so on.



Jonathan Spector
Israel
Local time: 16:50
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Judith Kerman: nice
0 min
  -> thanks

agree  RHELLER: jostling (no with) and running (not hopping) :-)
1 hr
  -> úåãä
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19 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
advise on the structure please
The beginning and the end...


Explanation:
In the beginning, maybe "They had so little time and so much to do, that they felt like doing everything at one go -...
The only thing I don't like in the end is "and so on". I think it's a different register. Something like " and doing lots of other things - all at the same time.
All the gerunds sound perfect to me.
Good luck!

Olga B
Israel
Local time: 16:50
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Arcoiris: I like the sug. ending
2 mins
  -> Thank you

agree  NancyLynn: me too
48 mins
  -> Thank you

agree  Vladimir Dubisskiy: i'd put "so many things to do" instead of "so much to do"
3 hrs
  -> Thank you
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42 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +3
advise on the structure please
make it bit more slangy


Explanation:
For a children's story, I think a slightly lighter, slangy register might work. For example, "share some gossip" sounds to me too adult, and so does "have a talk", and even "hat".
Take it down a peg or two, for example 'grab a drink, have a chat, pick on someone, examine someone's new cap, swap some gossip" etc.

Peter Linton
Local time: 14:50
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  NancyLynn
23 mins

agree  Mikhail Kropotov
44 mins

agree  Vladimir Dubisskiy: with "share some gossip" - i suggested 'to chat' myslef before
2 hrs
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